7 Reasons to Love Thrift Shops

Adventure.

You never know what you’re going to find.  Every time I visit a thrift shop or browse Craigslist, I stumble across something that stirs my imagination.  Take the regulation sized bowling pin ashtray I saw last week.  Imagine the room that was in!  There had to be bowling trophies on display, right?  And dark 70’s paneling?  And a home-built bar?

Reduce-Reuse-Recycle!

Buying second hand is the most environmentally friendly way to shop.  There is no manufacturing cost, not even the cost to recycle.  No cargo ship or train had to bring that item from China to you.  You’re doing the earth a favor.  You might also be putting a child laborer out of work.

Old Fashioned Thrift.

I like saving money.  At thrift shops, I buy labels from shops I’d never enter because they are out of my budget.  Also, it’s convenient to try on clothes from a dozen stores, and discover ones that fit and ones that don’t.  Now, I know which stores to avoid if I find myself at a mall (which has not happened yet this year).

Patience Rewarded.Vintage Cosco Stylair Step Stool

Patience is a virtue, and virtue is its own reward, right?  Yes, but it certainly is nice when patience pays off in a more tangible way.  I could have gone to Target and bought a reproduction Cosco Step Stool, or I could have bought an original on ebay or etsy for $100, but after a year stalking Craigslist, I found a vintage Stylair for only $20.   The rust is vintage, too.

Charity.

Most thrift shops are fundraisers (or job training) for charities.  By shopping there, you are supporting a worthy cause.  If you don’t consider it worthy, you don’t have to shop there.

Individualism.

Whether it is furniture from an earlier generation, or fashion from a prior season, shopping second hand means you and your home do not look like the rest of the neighborhood.  Tired of the new neutral already?  Go to a thrift store; they still have black … or brown … or navy … or white … or beige.  Are you tired of your square plates now that all your friends have them, but afraid you’ll be jumping from one trend to another if you replace them at CB2?  You’re right; you will be.

Commitment Phobia.

I am not attached to my decor.  I get tired of looking at the same old things.  When I’m buying items second hand, I have no qualms about changing them out as often as I please.  If I buy a table on Craiglist and sell it a couple years later for half what I paid, I’m happy.  It’s like renting furniture, but cheaper.  Also, these are not my family’s heirlooms.  I might be reluctant to paint my grandmother’s table, but I have no reservations about painting your grandmother’s desk.

Advertisements

Anticipating Happiness

I am a big fan of happiness.

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18A few years ago, I had to work hard to regain my sense of happiness, and during that time, I embraced this verse:

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

It reminded me, again and again, that wanting to be happy is not selfish.

I do not believe that happiness is the purpose of life.  Nor do I believe it is a guarantee or a right.  I don’t believe that the pursuit of happiness is an excuse to put your own desires above the needs of others.  That would be selfish.

I also know that life is full of grief and sorrow and times when joy seems impossible.  The Bible also tells us that there is a time for weeping and mourning.  “Sad things are sad,” I tell my children.  “Grieve over them.  Give yourself time to be sad.  Then remember to be happy again.”

When we’re ready to be happy, I believe that it is something we can cultivate, and that it is closely tied to a sense of gratitude.

There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy.  Robert Louis StevensonI agree with Robert Louis Stevenson who said, “There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy.”  Moods are contagious, and I’d rather spread happiness.   I’d rather bring out the best in others than drain them or drag them down.  I don’t advocate being artificially chipper.  That’s not my personality, but I am quietly joyful and content.

In a greater sense, I have so much for which to be thankful, and delighting in life is the best way I have of expressing my gratitude to God.

Happiness isn’t always easy.  Sometimes, we slip into grumbling and focusing on the negative.  We develop patterns of behavior and thought that promote discontent.  It happens so subtly, that we often don’t notice until the habit has become engrained.  So when Middle Sage announced that they were going to devote July to assessing habits that might be interfering with happiness, I knew I wanted to follow along.

On Monday, the featured habit was Waiting for the Future.  When I took the initial assessment, this isn’t one I thought applied to me.  I am happy right now; I’m not waiting for something to change to be happy.  However, they included this quote, from Eckhart Tolle:

“Waiting is a state of mind. Basically, it means that you want the future; you don’t want the present. You don’t want what you’ve got, and you want what you haven’t got. With every kind of waiting, you unconsciously create inner conflict between your here and now, where you don’t want to be, and the projected future, where you want to be. This greatly reduces the quality of your life by making you lose the present.”

Am I doing this?  Yes.  What is that future I want?

An empty nest.

I love my children, but teens are not my thing.  I love them.  Usually, I like them.  Sometimes, I even enjoy them.  Mostly, I want them to grow up and move out.

There is a part of me that wanted to delete that, because I think it sounds harsh, but there it is.  I don’t find parenting a teen any more fun than I found being a teen.  I want my kids to grow up and move out, the same way that I spent my own teen years wanting to grow up and move out.  Then, I looked forward to independence.  Now, I look forward to being alone with my husband, who is my favorite person in the entire world.  I daydream about it, and in my dreams, we are Incredibly Happy.  Sometimes I shop online for our retirement home, the one that doesn’t have enough bedrooms for anyone to stay with us for more than a weekend, the one we’ll never buy because I really do want my children and future grandchildren to be comfortable staying for a week or two.

For the past couple days, I’ve been pondering this – this that I would have named anticipation, but which Tolle has named inner conflict.  Is it interfering with my happiness right now?

Would I enjoy my last teenager more if I wasn’t looking forward to her leaving me one day?  It seems like I should say yes, but I don’t think so.  I don’t think the eye-rolling would bother me less, or I’d have more patience with the know-it-all-sass.

I would not be more tolerant of the mess.  My younger son is here for the summer, for the longest visit since he moved away three years ago.  I forgot what a slob he is!  No, that’s not quite right.  I forgot how much I dislike living with a slob.  I miss him; I don’t miss living with him.

For me, anticipating an empty nest is more than escapism, although it is that.  It enables me to remember that this phase will only last a few more years.  It reminds me that I do miss my children when they move away.  It reminds me to not snap at every stomp and door slam, because this temperamental teen is not too many years away from being a young woman whose company I hope to enjoy.  When she visits my empty nest.

(Please, know that I do not believe, not even a smidge, that people who suffer from clinical depression are ungrateful or spiritually lacking or that depression is a personal failing or an improper response to God.  My desire for you is that you will find a treatment plan that works for you, one that enables you to regain both health and happiness.  If you would like me to pray specifically for you, I would be honored to do so.)

Peaches, the taste of summer

Peaches are my summer food obsession.  While I haven’t eaten millions of them this summer, I’ve certainly eaten dozens since they first appeared at my local market.

It’s not that I don’t love all the summer berries, but I can buy them year round.  Peaches are just for summer, so I must eat as many as I can before they are gone.

I eat them plain.  I eat them in my morning yogurt (peaches and blueberries are perfect in plain Greek yogurt).  I eat them as dessert with ginger snaps crumbled on top.  I eat them in pie and cobbler and crisp, although I think cooking them entirely unnecessary.  I put them in smoothies if they get over-ripe and mushy, but that rarely happens.  Mostly, I eat them standing over the sink, so the juice doesn’t drip on my shirt or the floor.

What is your favorite summer fruit?  Or vegetable, if you’re like that.

June Reads

I read an unusual (for me) amount of fiction this month, so I thought I’d share the highlights of my June books with you. Perhaps you’ll find something you’d like to read this summer.

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie WarWorld War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks

I don’t usually read zombie novels. Never, actually, before Max Brooks’ World War Z.  It was the comparison to Studs Terkel that drew me in, and I was not disappointed.  Written as a volume of oral histories – first hand accounts – collected soon after the war had ended, WWZ is more social/political commentary than thriller, more about humanity than monsters.

Here, the zombie apocalypse is merely the backdrop for the human story.  Brooks shows us the myriad of responses to unimaginable disaster, both on an international and very personal scale.  My husband and son both read this, and it has been a fun one to discuss.  I’m recommending it to my book group, too.

Miss Buncle's Book Miss Buncle’s Book by D.E. Stevenson

Every Wednesday on my Facebook page, I ask people to share what they are reading.  This was one of the books shared with me there.  Thank you, Stacey!

Originally published in 1932, I was happy to find it republished (and available at my library) for the kindle.  D.E. Stevenson, a popular and prolific writer in the 20th century, is all but forgotten today, but Miss Buncle’s Book shouldn’t be.

This might be the perfect light summer read: a village of quirky characters, some startled, some enraged to find themselves the subject of a book.  “Charming” doesn’t do it justice, although it is.  It’s the satire that makes it still worth reading – the very premise of a newly impoverished, unimaginitive spinster writing a novel because her maid doesn’t want to keep chickens.  Times and media may change, but people don’t.  You, too, will recognize every character in Miss Buncle’s Book.

Journey Across the Four Seas: A Chinese Woman's Search for HomeJourney Across the Four Seas: A Chinese Woman’s Search for Home by Veronica Li

I download a lot of free memoirs for my kindle.  Often, let’s just say, there is good reason they are free.  This one is an exception.

When Veronica Li’s aging parents came to live with her, she recorded her mother’s story in her native Cantonese, and translated it for us.  Flora’s life spanned most of the 20th century.  Born in Hong Kong in 1918, she emigrated to the USA in 1967.  Between those years, she lived in poverty and in wealth; attained a college degree; fled the Japanese invasion; married securely but unhappily; moved many times as her husband lost jobs; had four children; worked; stayed at home to be a traditional, dutiful Chinese wife; suffered bouts of depression; and never gave up her determination to make a better life for her children.

Admirable as the strength of her will was, it was the glimpse into Chinese culture that sets her memoir apart.  Li lived in such different places, both geographically and socio-economically, and she takes her readers there with her, whether its a Catholic girls school in Hong Kong or a sleazy nightclub in Thailand.

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach

Mary Roach makes science fun, and scientists funnier.  This time she explores the science and scientists of digestion, from the first sniff to the final exit.  Gulp probably explains more than you ever wanted to know about Elvis, fistulated stomachs, or flatulence, but it’s more entertaining than revolting, or at least equally entertaining and revolting, and it’s educational, too.  I’m not sure when I’ll be able to use my new knowledge of saliva, but I’m sure it come in handy eventually.

(Although I enjoyed Gulp, if you haven’t read Roach’s Packing for Mars, I would recommend that one over this.)

The Ocean at the End of the LaneThe Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In such a short book, Neil Gaiman writes about the power of memory and forgetting, of love and sacrifice, of the boundaries of oceans and backyards, of coming of age and never growing up.  In short, he gives us a fairytale, and like all good fairy tales, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is mesmerizing because there is so much truth in it.  It’s not the supernatural, but the realistic that makes it magical.

I don’t want to say too much, and rob you of the joy of discovering it for yourself, so I will leave you with just this one quote:

“I do not miss childhood, but I do miss the way I took pleasure in small things, even as greater things crumbled.  I could not control the world I was in, could not walk away from the things or people or moments that hurt, but I took joy in the things that made me happy.”
Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Not proud, but pleased, to be an American.

One day, when my younger son was about seven or eight, he told me, “I’m proud of being tall.”

I told him that he couldn’t be proud of being tall because he hadn’t done anything to earn it.  I told him that he could be happy that God made him tall, but not proud.  He could proud of being kind, or working hard, or being a good friend, but he couldn’t be proud of something that was a gift to him.  That would be like saying, “I’m proud of getting a bike for Christmas.”

He replied that he was very happy he was tall, and would try not to feel proud about it.

I’m sure it was a struggle, as he was already taller than his older brother, but I think he understood what I meant.

Not proud, but pleased to be AmericanWhen my husband and I were dating, I told him that I wasn’t particularly patriotic.  He was taken slightly aback, and asked how I could not be proud to be an American.

I told him I like being American.  I feel incredibly blessed to have been born here.  Compared to most of the world, I have it good, and I know it, but I didn’t do anything to deserve it.  How can I be proud of something that was given to me?

Now, if I had emigrated here, if I’d had to endure hardships to get here and pass a test to achieve citizenship, I’d be proud and rightly so.

Or if I’d served in the military, if I’d fought for the freedoms I enjoy, I think I’d have good reason to be proud.

But that’s not me, so I’m pleased and I’m grateful, but I’m not proud.  I’m also certain the citizens of other nations are just as affectionate for their homeland as I am for mine.

Because I do like this place.  I think we have all sorts of problems, as all people do, but we have all sorts of good, too.

We have wonderful sanitation.  Have you ever been anywhere with so many free public toilets?  Or the abundance of clean tap water?  I like that about us.

I'm pleased, not proud, to be an American.I love our freedom of religion and speech and how cheap our groceries are.  Peaches for 49 cents a pound?  Incredible.  Choose your own beliefs and talk about them as much as you like?  Fantastic!

I love how generous Americans are.  We can be in debt, but we’ll still give money away to those in need.

I like how optimistic we are, always looking for the next big thing, always convinced things are about to get better.  It might be naive, but the alternative seems like a gloomier way to live.

I like how ridiculously large our idea of personal space is.  I like our big beds and how we do our best to leave empty seats between strangers at the cinema so we don’t have to share armrests.  Perhaps this makes us weird to the rest of the world, but I like it.  It’s comfortable; it’s home.

Maybe I’m more patriotic than I once realized, or maybe it has grown in me with the years.  Or maybe I just realize now that patriotism and pride are two different things.  Patriotism is a feeling of affection and gratitude, not pride.

Is patriotism pride?Tomorrow night, as I watch the fireworks, I’ll be thinking about how blessed I am to live in a country where I am free to be myself, to complain loudly about the things I don’t like, and quietly take for granted the things I do.

No, I won’t.  I’ll be oohing and aahing and wishing I knew how to capture fireworks on film.  But I’m thinking about them now, and I’m happy to call this nation home.

I hope you feel the same way, wherever you live.

Do your clothes truly fit?

"A dress should be tight enough to show you're a woman, and loose enough to prove you're a lady."  Edith HeadI’ve now lost twenty pounds, and have begun to notice that some of my clothes are rather too loose.

I’ve always had a generous definition of fit.  If a skirt is not too tight to get over my hips, nor too loose to stay up, I consider that good enough.

(I do insist on bras that properly fit.  Well-made, supportive brassieres are not a splurge.  They’re called foundation garments for a reason:  if they don’t fit right, nothing you put on over them will look its best.  Neither will you.  I could write a whole post on bras.  I think they are that important.)

Skirts do need to stay up high enough so to overlap with the bottom of the t-shirt.  I’ve had to remove a bunch of skirts from my closet that were slipping too low or hanging too crookedly to be reliable.

So I’ve increased my visits to the thrift stores to once a week.  They’re my best source of summer skirts, and I have almost replaced about as many as I’ve had to retire.

I find skirts more comfortable and appealing than shorts or trousers, and I wear them year round, with tights in colder weather.  I’d rather wear dresses – I love dresses – but they rarely fit all of me at once.

Dresses that fit on top float away from the rest of my body, or they’ll fit my hips and be huge at the bust.  Empire waists don’t usually help, because the high waist line often cuts across my bust instead of underneath it.  I believe this is because I’m tall, not because my breasts have fallen.

Sometimes, I look at women wearing dresses, and wonder if they hired a seamstress to do alterations, or do they just naturally fit into dresses?

More often, I wonder if the popularity of yoga pants is due to the fact that there are millions of women out there who cannot find clothes that truly fit.  Adding lycra is so much easier than tailoring clothes to fit the nuances of the female form.

This is how shirts are supposed to fit?   On whom?It’s not only dresses.  Many of my shirts look baggy now, too.  Losing weight hasn’t affected my shoulder breadth, so the next smaller size is still too small.

My shirts weren’t much more flattering before I lost weight.  It’s not that I buy boxy t-shirts.  They all have a bit of shape to them, at least they look that way when laid flat for folding.  On me, though, they look shapeless.  If they fit at the shoulders, they’re big at the waist.  Or if they skim the waist in a pleasing way, they’re tight across the bust.

Woven fabrics are just as bad, sometimes worse, even the ones with darts to shape them.  They don’t hang right on me.  There’s too much stiff fabric around my middle.  Bust darts aren’t located at my bust.  Princess seams rarely curve along my curves.

That all sounds rather whiny, but I don’t really think about it unless I’m shopping, which is how I spent the morning.

I understand why some women give up on trying to dress nicely.  It can be disheartening to try on item after item and not have them fit properly.  It might be tempting to think that the problem is our bodies, but it is not.  Ready to wear is based on averages, and most women are not average.

As I told my daughter when she hit puberty, “All women are wearing jeans that don’t quite fit.  It’s not just you.  Jeans fit men and children, people without hips; women just wear them anyway.”

Tell me, truly, do your clothes fit straight off the rack?

P.S. – Have any of you tried custom made dresses from eShakti?  I’d like to try them when my weight stabilizes.

Word of the Day: Sorry.

An apology is a powerful thing.  I wish it weren’t true, but my ability, or maybe it is my willingness, to forgive the smallest and the biggest things often depend on that little phrase.

I’m sorry.

After twenty three years of marriage, you would think that either my husband would have learned this or I would have gotten over it, but, no.  I keep wanting apologies, and he keeps giving me excuses.

An excuse is not an apology.An excuse is not an apology.

They are pretty much the exact opposite.

Whereas an apology diffuses the hurt I feel, excuses incite it.

An apology says I care about your feelings; an excuse says I only care about my own.

As I said, often, it is the most trivial things.

Yesterday evening, I came home at 5:30 to make dinner and discovered my husband and daughter had just finished eating.  We haven’t eaten before 6:30 all week, so I was surprised.

Since what they had eaten included some of the ingredients for the dinner I’d planned, I was also annoyed.  I asked why they’d eaten without us.  (My son had been with me.)

Now, this was stupid.  Upon reflection, I actually knew why my husband ate dinner so early.  He’d skipped lunch and was hungry.

He just couldn’t say that, though.  Nor could he say, “I’m sorry.”

No, he had to give me variety of excuses, like

  • I didn’t know how long you would be.  (Text me to ask?)
  • For all I knew you might be eating out.  (He knows I never do this.)
  • I thought I was doing you a favor.

I went from mildly annoyed to feeling truly hurt because his excuses all put the blame on me – which is what excuses usually do.

The pathetic thing is, in that way, they work.  I go from thinking, “That was rude,” to, “What is wrong with me that I keep expecting him to apologize when the past two decades have proven that he won’t?  How stupid am I?”

A triviality which could have ended with an apology and a kiss thus sends me into a little whirlpool of self accusation and doubt, because, really, how inane can I be?  Why do I keep wanting apologies?  It really isn’t that big of deal.  I should be able to forgive without signs of remorse or regret, shouldn’t I?

I think I should, and I beat myself up over this character flaw for a good part of the evening.

And I think that is ridiculous of me, too, so I chastise myself for that as well.

-sigh-

I owe myself an apology.  I’m way too hard on me.

I’m sorry.

(I also apologize for the song, which I do not like.  There really aren’t a lot of songs with the words “I’m sorry” in them.)

Bloggy Blah Blah Blah

Bloggity Blah Blah BlahI’ve been hearing all month that Google Reader was going to disappear on July 1st, but it only occurred to me today that this might affect me.

I’ve never used Google Reader, but I use Google’s blogger dashboard.  I don’t know if that is going to disappear, too, but I decided to export all the blogs I follow with it just in case.

The two services for following blogs that I’ve been hearing about are Bloglovin and Feedly.  I have no idea if one is better than the other.  None.

So I joined Bloglovin because it referenced Swedish law, which made it sound exotic, in an icy and cold sort of way, which is incredibly appealing during a heat wave.

You can click here to follow my blog with Bloglovin, if you are so inclined.

I might try Feedly, too.  If I do, I’ll update this post.

In other bloggity news, I’m thinking of switching to a Sun-Tues-Thurs post schedule for July, because

  1. Summer heat makes me even lazier than usual, so I really have nothing to talk about.
  2. I’ll be away a couple weeks in July visiting my mom, which is also nothing to talk about.
  3. I have a lot of books I want to read.

Or, I might force myself to leave my house in the heat and take photos to share with you, like the irrelevant baby zebra above.  Does that sound like a threat or a promise?  I’m not really sure which it should be.

Or maybe I’ll write about the books I’m reading.  Or not.

Decisions, decisions.

 

Does society want us healthy or just beautiful?

Is obesity a disease, or can big be beautiful and healthy?

photo credit: Dilona via photopin cc

In case you hadn’t heard, the American Medical Association classified obesity as a disease last week.

As CBS reported, “Medical therapies and procedures like the lap-band or gastric bypass surgeries are courses of treatment that may now be included in insurance coverage, based on the AMA’s decision.”

Does that sound like good news for the obese?  Maybe.  It sounds like even better news for the pharmaceutical companies who market weight loss drugs and the doctors who perform weight loss surgeries.

Will losing weight actually make people healthier, though?

Yes, there are certain health risks associated with having an elevated BMI, such as Type II diabetes and heart disease. More broadly, a higher BMI is associated with a greater risk of cardiometabolic abnormalities, as measured by blood pressure, triglycerides, cholesterol, glucose, insulin resistance and inflammation. Nonetheless, almost one quarter of “normal weight” people also have metabolic abnormalities, and more than half of “overweight” and almost one third of “obese” people have normal profiles, according to a 2008 study. That’s 16 million normal weight Americans who have metabolic abnormalities and 20 million obese (or 56 million overweight and obese) Americans who have no such abnormalities. (Abigail C. Saguy, read full article here)

I think medical procedures should be available to those who need them, but this decision from the AMA troubles me.  It seems like one more way that our society promotes appearance over substance.

We want people to be beautiful more than we want them to be healthy, and we equate thin with health.

Why can’t insurance companies cover treatments based on metabolic abnormalities, instead of BMI?  If the doctors believe gastric bypass would be an effective way to treat heart disease, cover it.  However, if it isn’t making one sick, why is obesity a disease?

Weight Loss is a $6.1 billion industry.Am I jaded that I think this decision was based on money?  There is so much money to be made in the weight loss industry.  $61.6 billion in 2012.  Most of that money is not spent in doctor’s offices or on pharmaceuticals.  Even less of it is spent on surgical solutions.  According to Marketdata Enterprises,

The number of bariatric surgeries is significantly less than reported by the ASMBS (bariatric surgeon’s national society). Surgeries peaked at 135,000 in 2008, according to government healthcare agency data (not 209,000 reported by the ASMBS). However, since then, insurers have gotten tougher on coverage and the number has fallen 15% to an estimated 114,000 last year. This reduced the size of the total weight loss market by $2.6 billion and translated into less business for bariatricians and VLCD programs.

Now that obesity is a disease, perhaps those numbers will change.

Does society want us healthy or just beautiful?It seems like we are still moving one step forward two steps back when it comes to body image.  We have campaigns to promote the idea that healthy beauty comes in all sizes.  Then we declare fat a disease.

Sorry, you’re not beautiful; you’re sick.  Poor pitiful you.  It’s not your fault; you have a disease.  Let me cure you, then you’ll be happy, healthy, and – most of all – thin.

Family fun and frustration at the bowling alley

Family Fun:  Bowling.
I love bowling with my family.  I love clapping and cheering and laughing and sympathizing.

I’ll even clap for children bowling in the lane next to me, if they seem like they’d appreciate it.

I don’t know what it is about bowling that brings this out in me, because I do not like sports in general, neither as a participant nor as a spectator.  Even when my own children were playing, I found it hard to muster enthusiasm for the game.

Family bowling, however, is all about the enthusiasm.  None of us are particularly good, so it’s not a competitive event.  I think without the high fives and clapping it would be pretty dismal.

This was born out on the face of my fifteen year old daughter.

The few other lanes in use were not near our assigned lane, which enabled my daughter to sit at the table at a neighboring lane where she did her best to distance herself from our jocularity all morning.

I’m pretty sure the five elderly bowlers in the building knew she was with us anyway, what with her actually bowling in our lane, but after each of her turns, she returned to her chosen table, resolutely ignoring us, and glued her eyes to the video screen above her head.  At best, attempts to include her in our mirth were met with a quick, angry glare.

Bowling alleys today are so different than they were when I was her age.

For the better, they are not smoke filled and do not smell like stale beer.  These are phenomenal improvements.  The scoring is automatic, so nobody needs to pay close attention or count pins.  Also much appreciated.

For the worse, there are video screens alternating with the overhead score cards.

Video Screens Everywhere

Perhaps I’m kidding myself, but I think my daughter might have interacted with us a teensy bit if she had not been mesmerized by Taylor Swift and all those other people I don’t recognize.

I admit, it is hard not to look at them.  The constant motion and changing images catch your eye even if you don’t know or care anything about the music.  Even the serious and elderly bowlers would glance up at them as the images changed.

(By serious, I mean that their balls never went straight to the gutters.)

I’ve noticed the same effect in restaurants.  When we go places with televisions, there is less conversation, at our table and those of other diners.  Faces automatically turn to the screens, especially when they become brighter.

I try not to eat at places that have televisions.

However, the local Mexican spot we like always has its on.  Usually, it is tuned to soap operas in Spanish, which, since I do not speak Spanish, makes it easier to ignore.  I still find myself glancing up at it occasionally.  We always make our daughter sit with her back to it; otherwise, she’d never talk to us.

As I say, “She can ignore us for free at home.  We don’t need to pay for that.”

I know this is not a sign of a Generation Gap because my mother and in-laws are also addicted to television.  Or maybe it’s one of those things that skips a generation.